3 Reasons to Say Thank You!

3 Reasons to Say Thank You!

It’s Mother’s Day season and I’m in a “Thank You” frame of mind. We all should be. My mother is a 5’ 3” fireball from Belize. You don’t EVER have to wonder what’s on her mind, because she’ll let you know. (Perhaps this will aid your understanding of my sisters.…particularly Marsha.) We’re blessed to still have our parents living in Memphis, and we don’t take that for granted.

But whether your mother, or grandmother, or that special person who stood in their stead, is alive or not, this is the season to say thanks. Thank them personally or thank God for them. Because saying thank you is not just good manners, it’s good living.

Amy Morin, in her Forbes Magazine article entitled, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude,”(1) lists several personal benefits saying thanks brings:

  • Gratitude increases happiness and decreases depression.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  • Gratitude increases mental strength
  • Grateful people sleep better.

That’s a good list, but let me give you 3 reasons for saying thank you that are even better than those.

Number One: Saying thanks admits our dependency

The late author Alex Haley of Roots fame once wrote, “If you ever see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you can bet he didn’t get there by himself!” True of turtles, even truer of us. There is the tendency to see successful people as “self- made.” Wrong. Any success we achieve in this life can be traced back to the contributions and influence of others.

This weekend hundreds of students will be receiving their diplomas from Oakwood University. The energy, excitement, and pure joy of the students is something to behold. But there’s nothing like the weathered faces of the family and friends who sacrificed to make it possible. The students walk across the stage, but an unseen village walks with them. They deserve a thank you.

Number Two: Saying thanks demonstrates our love and appreciation

The summer after my freshman year at Oakwood, I spent more time on the basketball courts than working for tuition. So I had to stay home the first quarter of my sophomore year. My plan was to work, take a few classes at Memphis State University, and return to Oakwood the second quarter. But old habits aren’t changed overnight, and as the second quarter of Oakwood approached, I still didn’t have the money I needed.

I hated to ask my parents because they had already heavily invested in a college education that I was squandering away. So I was prepared to miss my sophomore year at Oakwood. But one afternoon my mother informed me that she had made arrangements for me to get back into school. I didn’t understand how she did it, but I happily returned to Oakwood.

Months later I learned how she did it.  She had gotten a loan at a ridiculous rate, from what amounted to a loan shark! She couldn’t afford it. I didn’t deserve it. But it was love. When I found out what she did, I cried. But I did more than cry, I changed. That’s what love will do. Thank you says, “I remember, I appreciate it, and I love you.”

Number Three: Saying thanks remembers our mortality

I’d like to meet the genius who put the words “aging” and “gracefully” together. Obviously he was a 13-year-old because there’s nothing graceful about aging. Getting old is difficult. Things move that should be stopping and things stop that should be moving! It’s not a pretty picture.

Psalm 90:12 teaches us to “number our days.” We should be aware that our days down here are slowly winding down. It’s just as important to number the days of our loved ones. We won’t have our loved ones with us always, so it’s critical to say thank you now.  Nothing is more heart wrenching than listening to a child who regrets not saying, “I love you,” or “I thank you” to a loved one who can no longer hear it.

So, let’s get started.  A phone call or a card to those who are with us. A word of thanks to God for those who are gone. I plan to live forever, because the greatest gift I received from my parents was my introduction to Jesus Christ. I’ll probably be thanking them a lot in heaven, so I think I’ll get started down here. So, who would you like to thank in this Mother’s Day Season?

(1) “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round” Amy Morin. Forbes.com 11/23/14